hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

I Just Forgot To Swallow

Okay how much more insane can I be before I need 24 hour care? I sat there in front of the computer, and tried to do what was the right thing and take in my designated amount of water. Suddenly it was all over me, the desk, but fortunately not the computer.

I looked around for the culprit who had showered me with water from MY water bottle, which was securely in MY hand. There was no one. Still I was in disbelief. I was drenched and pretty-much gasping for breath. Suddenly it was clear what had just happened. I remembered unscrewing the top, I recalled putting the bottle to my mouth..then everything went wrong. The water was in my mouth pouring down my throat but something was not operating as it should be. It plunged down my throat in managed to go everywhere it should not go and completely avoid my esophagus.

If you have ever strangled you can imagine the panic I was stricken with for seconds that seemed to go on forever. Finally, I contained myself, and began to breathe normally. I wanted to ACTUALLY take a sip of water, but was reluctant. I wondered for a split second if I knew what to do with it now. I did what my granddaughter would say, faced my fear. I managed to do it right this time. I laughingly think about how that event happened and realized we can never take anything for granted.

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60

HappyBirthdayToMe. For longer than I can remember, October 4th has signaled my entry into this world. For the times I can remember I have anticipated, been elated, been surprised and yes sometimes disappointed by the arrival of this day.

However, I love October 4th we have a long standing love-affair. We only see one another once a year, but I am still glad to see the day. I am a child of Autumn. Living in the south has brought meaning back to that. The return of the cooler temperatures, the colors of  red and orange and gold and brown fitting together in a harmonious pattern. The fragrances of cinnamon, apples, pumpkins signal the gateway to the holidays is rapidly approaching.

Where does that leave me? When I started this blog a DECADE ago, I did not think about this year. I was dealing what was right in front of me. I told myself, “Well 50 isn’t so bad. I am not in too terrible of shape.” Getting older may NOT be as bad as it appears, in the media or in real life. Truthfully, it was alright. I was approaching retirement, my first grandchild was on her way, and I decided no more rinsing the gray away!

A decade later, hair is as natural as can be no chemical and no color, my granddaughter is on her way to celebrating her first decade of this life and my retirement..well I have CHOSEN NOT to quit work. At least not just yet.

Things I have written about, adjusting, decision making, taking oneself too serious have a different look 10 years later. I can look back 5 years and see an astounding change in what my entire life looks like, I can look back a year and feel the overwhelming affects of  some of those same changes. As I strive to do what I believe will work for me..Living In The Now, I cautiously glance back at what I will leave behind as I navigate through this thing called LIFE. It PAINS me to abandon the familiar, if only for a moment. In my heart I know I will NEVER completely do this but I also know in order to go on, I must separate myself from the past, my past. It is  NOT easy.

Loss and abandonment; ones/things we MUST leave behind, ones/things we have chosen to leave behind. So many changes that it is hard to keep up with and digest. Lets face it if we don’t keep up we become less and less relevant, then we are easier to forget. The OTHERS start to put us in the background because they see us moving in that direction. We slow down LIFE continues at IT’S pace.

60 when thought of in mph is NOT exactly slow; so I am having to remind myself I MUST put forth more effort now, just to keep up. This year when I close my eyes to blow out the candles can you guess what my wish will be?

Remembering How To Feel

Loss is such an all encompassing experience. Your mind, body and soul are affected and they are affected completely. Having to deal with multiple loss in a relatively short period of time, one can grow numb. Your entire being can shut down and simply wander aimlessly through this process called LIFE.

One finds out the vicious truth- LIFE GOES ON; and if allowed your very being WILL, through assorted coping mechanisms, continue as well. To outsiders you will seem to be amazing and strong, when what you are in reality is someone who has simply succumbed to that which is out of your control. Left with no choices you chose the inevitable.

As time goes by, just like breathing or your heart beating, you find yourself once again navigating. However, you are forever changed. You may look slightly different; new lines on your face may identify places of some internal hurt, or the light in your eyes may appear dull and muted. While one may not be physically cowering in some lonely dark corner, mentally that very same corner may be a safe place.

In your effort to survive the pain you must somehow allow yourself back to a place that may remind you there is hurt ahead. It is a scary journey..coming back to the familiar and still occupying the sense of being lost. Your comfort now has a companion it keeps by it’s side always visible, always present. As you slowly remove the  protective coating you have to remember how and what it is like to feel again.

Watching Them Go

As I try not to be dark, I go over in my head all of the losses I have suffered in the past three years. I hope that I can help others as they go through this process.

The diagnosis came almost 2 years ago. The treatment began after several  assessments(medical insurance and providers may vary and have an impact) in January 2018. August 2019 I am watching death come slowly and methodically. Ravaging the external body as it has certainly been doing internally. This is a cruel process for all parties concerned.

Physically; all that is being done is keeping the pain away.  Timed disbursements of medications. We do return to our infancy, reliant on someone else to care for our basic needs. However, the progression in in the reverse.There is no conversation, I merely talk or don’t talk for awareness and comfort on both our parts. I reflect on The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

I am sad, angry and depressed. I sometimes sit because I cannot move, paralyzed by the overwhelming sense of helplessness. I sometimes wander..aimlessly because I do not know what to do or how to feel. I don’t eat or I over eat. My concentration is indescribable.

I have to remain calm and controlled. I MUST be conscious and observant. I have to report changes I notice because this determines level of care. I am not a doctor, nurse or medical professional; yet I am charged with doing what these professionals DO NOT RECOMMEND FOR THEMSELVES “caring for a loved one”. Sometimes hearing the words that must come out of my mouth astound me. I take my mind/ myself away from the situation at hand, but as I return the emotions take over and I “lose it”.

TRUTH.. you really do NOT know what you are capable of until you are forced to face “difficulty”. Try to truly live in the NOW; Life is random and unpredictable, and YES life goes on.

Look At You

Every selfie I take, every Marco Polo video I record, every face-time image has to be rehearsed and “make-up has to be called in to freshen me up and make sure I look just right. This lighting, that angle…  Really? Sounds more like some performer prepping for a role or televised interview. I am sharing and talking to my friends and loved ones; don’t they know, aren’t they supposed to realize that I am real and not some plastic, photo-shopped image created to represent what someone defines as beautiful? Of course THEY do, question is do I?

What has happened to us, is we have been flooded… Inundated with 24 hour media. Let’s be real, if you know someone else is watching you really can’t be yourself. Can you? We have all become models and actors, many of us without the benefits of the coaches, directors, and special effects people. Are you really brave enough to go LIVE and truly be in the moment. The answer is undoubtedly yes..wait is my make-up right?

So at 2 :15 a.m 11:15p.m Pacific time my CPAP machine strapped to my face, hair in my silk scarf, The High Chapparral on my television. I see a message from one of my west coast buddies and I accidently select record. OooWeee what a sight. Truth is I should be sleep, I have a severe case of  asleep apnea and I cannot rest comfortably without taking those ritual precautions to insure something close to sleep occurs. Is it something I want the world to see, do I want my friends to see it ? No and No. But if that happens what you view when I accidentally hit record is exactly what my condition looks like.

Now consider what your situation is..in reality and then take a moment and simply say to yourself “Look At You” and be alright with what you see.

Nothing Helps

Therapy, grief groups, research into finding a word that describes the never-ending pain. I have tried a lot of things and so far the truth of the matter is, nothing helps At least not for long.. Music is painful, browsing through pictures brings mixed results. Sometimes I spiral into a flood of tears, sometimes it is just the pain of an emptiness.

There is a need for soothing. Barring what is obvious and illogical, what can make people like me feel better? Start with religion and God. Well many like me are angry disappointed and confused with the very idea(s). There are medications. How much can a person sleep or NOT sleep, really? Alcohol/drugs ..aren’t we just substituting one type of pain for what will eventually  be another?

Consciously, I know that I am moving forward. I also know that it takes very little to return me to “square one”. As those around NOT directly affected  look to what is next we are stuck painfully nostalgically looking to what once was or what might have been. We are tough patients for therapy.  Trying to live in the now makes us have to dismiss, in theory, the FACT we once had a child.  Then there is being alone, that is a place I feel most at home with. My thoughts are not always soothing, but there is no one to judge  no one to explain the long moments of silence to. The far away looks towards no place in particular. As strange as this may read to others it is a safe haven for us. It does not last long though, how can it and why would it .

We must get back to the business of living and even though nothing helps, until our time expires we too must go on.

“I Get It And I Am Done”

Have you ever tried to convince someone to do something they may not necessarily want to do? You can have the greatest of intentions, you may even be right. Yet some how some way things always seem difficult or strained. Then after all the planning and juggling and maneuvering, you still end up back where you started.

Landmark birthday alert.. 40 you speak your mind 50 things are great you have made it through many things and you are still upright..here comes 60 the age of intolerance. Screech!!!

Chasing a dream, a relationship, even an idea is far less attractive now, because of the word chase. What happens when you catch that dream. Figure this into your equation, this”whatever” was attempting to escape/elude you that is why you were involved in a chase, and you still goin after it?

Maybe this is a simple misinterpretation, but  then again maybe it is exactly what you think it is. As I see it, things will only deteriorate and eventually something may rupture. Walking away now, you are merely allowing things to take their natural course. This is after all how it should be.

Your intentions may have been nothing but good, but you must have willing participants. No adult enjoys being forced/coerced into doing something that is totally against what they think they want.

Maya Angelou said, “If someone shows you who they are believe them.” Okay so now you must say, ” I get it and now I am done.”

Mountain Top

I made my commitment to climb this summit in an effort to further my healing. I found and unexpected companion in my BFFA (best friend for always). Honestly I did not want to climb alone, I just did not know who I would suggest the idea to or ask. The best thing was I did not even have to ask her. Once again I was put in a spot of amazement, in awe of the special people who ARE in my life. People who just KNOW what you need and provide it to you without a second thought.

Note I said people and NOT a person. Let me tell you I was LOST a very few short months ago, I got the call and all that was said,” I’ll be there at 11:15, tell Carlton to come pick me up at the airport.” All I could say, the only word I could choke out of my mouth was, “Okay”.

BFF,BFFA, SisterFriend(s), family, friends….They boarded planes, they sent flowers, money, food, letters and gave support that I cannot begin to describe. When I reach the summit and release the balloons for my dear child THEY will all be there with me, in my thoughts. They will feel my love floating into their hearts from mine. I could have never made it without each and every one of them. I have to say God( although I am having a challenging time with Him) knew this and He made sure they were with me, one way or another.

!5 months after I began this piece I actually climbed Stone Mountain. My eldest son, his wife, her mom, my”daughter”, my granddaughter, grandson all came with me. We took the balloons. It was a clear perfect day after a week of off and on rain.  I cried as I wrote Jay’s name o the balloons, I let his only niece release them and we watched as they floated upward.

It was the right thing to do for me. It felt good, no matter how short-lived that feeling was. I know the lost feeling that loss leaves you with is forever a part of you. You must fight to rise above it, but some times, some days you really just don’t want to fight. Those are the day, those are the times you have to metaphorically climb to that “mountain top”, just for YOU.

Uggh..New Neighbors

Living in a town-home community has it’s advantages and it’s challenges. like any situation you MUST take the good with the bad. For that private street you MUST contend with limited parking and a narrow road.

Late Saturday night the moving van semi-blocked my driveway. I was not going anywhere at the time and if I needed to get out, the open door told me I could simply go next door and have the folks moving in to back the vehicle up so I could get out.

As I peered out of my upstairs window my eyes rolled up toward the ceiling. I thought,     ” oh brother, so we have THOSE kind of neighbors moving in”. In reality I knew better and I knew I was setting myself up to dislike these folks before I had VALID reason. I mean for the past two months I had perfect neighbors (the place was vacant). I heard some sounds, some music, some little child cries..already I made sure the police non-emergency number was in my favorites.

Sometimes YOU have to slow yourself down and pull back. What do I know about these people? Answer..nothing. What’s more I am NOT really interested in getting to know them. All I want is to have decent, quiet, respectful, clean next-door-neighbors (yes I went to the store and stocked up on roach traps and sprays..just-in-case). Hello when we see one another and that is quite enough. I have to remember Once-Upon-a-Time we were the new neighbors with two small boys and a couple dogs.

Quiet Times

I  really NEVER thought my soul would feel anything but pain since my dear child Jay suddenly passed away last January. However, after over a year the emotions,while on VERY high alert, have softened. My hope is that anyone who reads this NEVER feels the hurt, I feel every moment of every day. I also hope if anyone who reads this has suffered such a loss, I can provide you with some level of comfort.

NEVER will I be the same.What I am currently, is someone navigating through territory I did not want to be in. I am not tired, I am not weary, I am just in a continuous state of searching. At first I sought an answer to ,”why“. After I discovered no explanation would make sense or give me solace. Then I wanted to know, ” how“. How could I go on, how could I be happy and what was happy anymore. Questions with inadequate answers, that is what I have been living with since my Jay simply stopped being.

Life goes on all around you and eventually, you come back to a state where you appear to be what the outside world see as NORMAL or OKAY. You really are not; you now have the physical appearance of what makes others feel comfortable. The internal battles ARE forever, but you have soft moments and quiet times.

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